Summer Experiments Revisited

Just over two months ago I wrote a post where I talked about my plans for the summer. I would be blogging less, and on different things, and I’d be doing that because I had a writing project that I was super keen on! I was going to change the world! I was young, the world was good and nothing was going to get in my way!

Ahem.

Well, what actually happened was I went on holiday for a week, came back, looked at what I was writing and fell head over heels out of love with it. I thought that the writing itself was alright, but I wasn’t sold on the overall project any more. It didn’t sing to me. And similarly for the alternative blogging that I was thinking of doing on here, I just didn’t have the heart for it any more. I liked the concept, but wasn’t sure about where the execution of it was going. I guess, maybe it didn’t need to be going anywhere in particular, but still I just wasn’t feeling it.

So I did something completely different: I started a role-playing game business.

I’ve possibly mentioned my love of role-playing games before on the blog, and I’ve long held ambitions for making some headway on projects that I would release in that field. But ambitions – for me – have always lead to feelings of disappointment. I get an idea, and immediately aim for the biggest and the best and then come crashing back down to earth.

I love this article on small projects, and it was reading that – and also getting some encouragement from a community of gamers that I’m part of – that really spurred me on to making something. It’s a Pocketmod booklet, again, something else that I love for the ingenuity and simplicity of the design – a little A7 booklet made from a single sheet of A4 – and I made it in my spare time over a couple of weeks.

I had some printed on good quality paper, assembled them myself, and did all of the behind the scenes set-up to make a download store (straight forward enough as I have another one already for my ebooks on viva preparation) and then looked at how to set up Paypal to deal with orders of physical copies. I shared it within the community that I’m part of, and in under a week I’ve sold two-thirds of the printed versions. Not bad!

The numbers: I might make something like £25 profit on this…before tax. I know what you’re thinking: Yikes. But the money from this is not the point, not really. Yeah, sure, thousands and millions might be nice (or might not be), but doing this did three things for me:

  • first, it made me realise that there is an audience who would be interested in what I do – I don’t know how big that audience is yet, but I know that there are some people and that’s good.
  • second, this little Pocketmod did earn some money, and this is now seed money for whatever I do next, and I have plans to do more small projects – they now have a headstart.
  • third, and most importantly, I have more confidence now that I can do something in this area – I can create things that people find valuable.

So while some of my summer experiments didn’t pan out, I’ve succeeded in another area. A smaller business than what I do day-to-day, but a part of who I am and what I do. My wife, who is my business partner, described my work as a “patchwork of creative output” last week, which made me smile ear-to-ear.

What small projects have you tried recently, and what happened?

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

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